Mark Scott's Endless Pursuit of Traditional Tattooing
"I will likely spend my whole career just trying to make a good classic tattoo."
Growing up in the punk rock scene in the late 90's, Mark Scott discovered the world of tattooing in a way that blew his mind. His love for the timeless traditional style of tattooing has been at the forefront of his career, where he is lucky enough today to have clients that come to him for exactly that. And while he is already known for his clean and classic tattoos, he continues to work relentlessly at mastering his craft and raising the standard of success for himself.
Nickname(s): Mark Something
Shop: Til Death Tattoo
Years Tattooing: 4
Style/Specialty: American and Japanese Traditional
Drink of choice?
Black Coffee, Whiskey Sour.
What would you be doing professionally if you weren’t a tattooer?
I would like to say a photographer, but likely I would be sitting in a cubicle somewhere.
Do you have any hidden talent(s)?
It is not exactly hidden, but a lot of people don't know that I was a travel photographer for most of my adult life and was definitely something I put a lot of energy into. You can see some of my photography at markscott.photography.
What’s in rotation on your playlist right now?
Black Thought, Jay Electronica, Dark Time Sunshine, Open Mic Eagle.
What made you want to get into tattooing?
I was first drawn to tattoos growing up in the punk rock scene in the late 90's. It was a heavily tattooed community and I got to see a lot of large scale work which was still pretty rare at the time. I have pretty clear memories from back then of seeing sleeves on touring bands by guys like Marcus Pacheco and Tim Biedron and it blew my mind seeing what tattooing could be and where it was headed.
How would you describe your style?
I am mainly just trying to execute traditional motifs well. I will likely spend my whole career just trying to make a good classic tattoo.
First tattoo you ever got?
A Celtic band around my calf when I was 16. Very late 90’s haha.
Do you have any tattoos you regret? (Getting or giving)
I wouldn't say regret, but then again I am also in the process of lasering off my tattoos from my teenage years.
What’s the strangest / most unique tattoo request you’ve gotten?
Nothing really sticks out in my memory. I’m sure there have been plenty of strange requests that I’ve declined, but I feel like clients are pretty tattoo-savvy and knowledgeable about tattooing these days. I also was pretty spoiled starting tattooing at Til Death, so the majority of tattoo requests have always been designs I am excited about and fit my style.
What is your favorite part about being a tattoo artist, and what is the most challenging?
My favorite part of tattooing is getting to connect with people. I always considered myself a quiet person, and never expected how fulfilling it would be to talk and get to know my clients each day. And working in a healthy environment around people I look up to and that are passionate about tattooing has been a dream come true.
I think the most challenging part of tattooing is that it feels like an endless pursuit that you will never master. The most talented and successful tattooers and artists I know also work the hardest. The reward of success is just more work, and at higher standards. Tattooing is a great job for work-a-holics.
What kind of changes have you seen with tattoo trends over the years and what’s been the worst one(s), in your opinion?
To me the recent trends in tattooing have been two fold. Modern styles like color realism and micro tattoos have seen a good share of failures but also in turn has pushed the boundaries of what was thought a good idea or even possible with tattooing.
I feel like the other side is leaning harder into the classic styles and approaches of tattooing. Although I personally love it, some of the once old, obscure, wonky, traditional designs are something I never expected to be so widely popular with clients.
I feel like it all has contributed to the evolution of tattooing. In ten years we will see and learn from the good and bad trends of the previous era.
Where do you get inspiration from?
Tattoo books, old woodblock prints, my friends and peers. And of course the fact that with social media you see what every tattooer on the planet is working on a daily basis can’t help but influence us all.